7 May 2018

Increased risk of dementia in Pasifika boxers, study suggests

From , 5:00 am on 7 May 2018

Young Pasifika men considering careers in boxing are being warned that they could be at greater risk of early onset dementia.

New research on a cluster of eight former amateur or professional boxers - all Pasifika and living in South Auckland - showed that seven of the men developed dementia before age 65.

The researchers say this new study suggests a higher risk of early onset dementia among Pasifika men compared to their European counterparts, especially when combined with other risk factors including drinking and diabetes.

However, this can't be confirmed because New Zealand doesn't have enough good data on dementia prevalence.

The lead author of the research, Dr Vahid Payman, says the study raises a public health issue and is recommending anyone in this risk group considering a boxing career to get tested for other risk factors.

Dr Payman told RNZ National's Kathryn Ryan he came across the cluster by chance and studied further.

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Photo: Supplied